Richard Wurmbrand was born 1909, on March 24 in Rumania. He was descendent from German-Jewish family. But the family was not practise the Jewish religion. In Romania as a Jew and as a German he was discriminated both. In the age of nine his father died and the family got poor. The struggle of Life began.
Young Wurmbrand was searching for the meaning of life, he read a lot. In the age of 16 he was an atheistic an materialistic man. He became a businessman and made a lot of money. As he said later he didn't ask for God that time. Only pleasure and consumption were in his mind. In 1936 he married Sabine Oster a Jewish girl.
Than he got Tuberculosis. In a course of treatment he met an ordinary farmer who was a rebirth Christian. This man gave him his first bible. As Wurmbrand read the New Testament he began to cry. "I only could cry" he later said, "I compared my life with the life of Jesus, my hate with his love. He opened my heart."
As he got a Christian he had the wish to become a pastor. In a long way the Anglican Mission in Romania made him a reverend. Nevertheless in the thirties he was a beaten man because he was a Jew by birth. Romania was an ally with Nazi-Germany. So he was imprisoned.
As the Red Army came he was sure that God would use him to evangelise the atheist soviet soldiers. The Rumanian Communist planed to use the Christian churches for their propaganda. And they found a lot of church leaders serving the materialistic ideology. Not so Reverend Wurmbrand. He said: As a Christian Jesus is my Lord God not a political party, not an ideology, not a state. As the official churches began to collaborate with the communists he found an underground church. In 1948 he was arrested and imprisoned for 14 years. In 1950 his wife too was arrested. First he spent three years in solitary confinement, ten meters under the earth in a tunnel prison. "We saw no trees, no flowers, no children, no stars, we saw no sun, no women." In jail he was tortured in many ways. The communists planed to destroy his personality.
In this time in face of medieval tortures in suffering, and pain he discovered God in a new way. Without a Bible without friends he prayed and developed an intensive connection to God. "There is a delight in God: a deep and extraordinary ecstasy of happiness that is like nothing in this world" he later wrote. He began to dance in his cell to show the joy in the Lord. The policemen thought he was crazy.
After an amnesty 1956 he got free but he lost his license to preach, he was blacklisted and constantly followed and watched. Nevertheless he preached the gospel. So in two years later he was arrested renewed. Christians in Norway had heard of his fate and paid money to the communist government to get him free. His release was in 1964 and one year later he could leave the country to Norway. At his farewell day his parish gave him an order: "Say to the Christians in the free West: don't leave us alone, don't forget us!"
In the West he was shocked that most of the churches didn't see the suffering of Christians in the Communist world. To open their eyes he gave a lot of lectures of his own experiences and of the fate of other Christian prisoners. Often church-leaders, even bishops who were in an dialogue with Communist parties, said Wurmbrand were a liar. "I denounce Communism because I love the Communists. We can hate the sin, while loving the sinner" he demanded from his audience. He was always thinking that all people including the most cruel persons in history could be saved and that Jesus died for this men. As in 1989 the Romanian bloody dictator Ceaushescu was executed Wurmbrand regret this. "I would have volunteered to defend him. Sure I would have him imprisoned for what he did. But in a human cell with good food and a Bible. Maybe would have read in it and be saved." Wurmbrand's issue was not revenge but the proclamation of Christ's love to all mankind.
In the following years of his release he found a lot of missions to support the persecuted church. Till our days they exist and work in the spirit of Reverend Wurmbrand. There are "Wurmbrand-Missions" in the USA, the UK, Germany, Holland, Australia and many other countries. In his whole life in the free West Wurmbrand was forced by people saying he were a liar.
The Wurmbrand-Missions are helping without looking of the denomination. Every community who is based on the "Apostolicum" can be helped. This principle is directly from Reverend Wurmbrand. "In prison we had an ecumenical of the tortured. All differences of denominations were nothing. Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic - it didn't matter when we prayed together and suffered together and consoled each other" he often told.
Since his dead in 2001 Wurmbrand was on tour for the persecuted church. After the decease of Communism the focus of Wurmbrand and his assistants was the Christians in Muslim countries. The missions try to help persecuted Christians from Indonesia to Morocco, from China to Colombia. Love, help and forgiveness are the leading points in this work in the spirit of Reverend Richard Wurmbrand.